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How many times do you chase a Twitch before calling it a dip? (5 Viewers)

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
With 2021 well into it's second month, I experienced my first dip for the year in the form of a Black-throated Gray Warbler in a city park that despite it's great bird count, it's one of my least favorite hotspots in the city.

I went after the bird first on Saturday only to be rained out and yesterday I spent well over an hour between the two trees the bird was reported to make loops in a feeding flock, long story short, the trip failed with the closest thing to a flock was group of 8 Yellow-rumped Warblers teasing with their presence.

So now for the question, for my, chasing after a vagrant/twitch is only something I'll try 2 times at most of the same bird, take down to once if the drive is over an hour to get to the site, but how many times would you go for it? Does this number increase based on the bird species or is it constant rule throughout?
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
We have done three full-day trips for a Red-flanked Bluethroat recetntly - 2 hours drive each way - and we only got it close to the end of the third day. After the second one, I was swearing I am never gonna drive to that park again, but when the reports kept coming and on top of that we got teased by even more specific information ... But I think I would not have gone for a 4th ... but what do I know :)

Out of curiosity, which area are you talking about that a Black-throated Gray Warbler is a twitch, but Yellow-rumped Warblers are not a huge rarity? It must be somewhere on the American continent, right? But then the Black-throated Gray Warbler wouldn't be that rare?
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
We have done three full-day trips for a Red-flanked Bluethroat recetntly - 2 hours drive each way - and we only got it close to the end of the third day. After the second one, I was swearing I am never gonna drive to that park again, but when the reports kept coming and on top of that we got teased by even more specific information ... But I think I would not have gone for a 4th ... but what do I know :)

Out of curiosity, which area are you talking about that a Black-throated Gray Warbler is a twitch, but Yellow-rumped Warblers are not a huge rarity? It must be somewhere on the American continent, right? But then the Black-throated Gray Warbler wouldn't be that rare?
I'm located in South Florida, Miami-Dade county to be exact, Black-throated Gray is a Western species that is considered a vagrant anywhere East of the Central Plains, while the Yellow-rumped is guaranteed anywhere in North America depending on the time of the year (November to March where I live).

It also would have been a State and County first for me, but honestly that park makes it unbearable to bird due to the high number of invasive plants blocking the trails and the areas outside of the trails being used for every outdoor activity imaginable.
 

KenM

Well-known member
Your location Igonz1008?
BT Gray should be distinctly uncommon from mid-West to East.

Cheers
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
I missed a Black-throated Gray Warbler in a city park 3 times this past fall, I never ended up finding it.
 

ovenbird43

Well-known member
Depends on the bird and the distance. For a long-staying rarity within my normal birding radius, I might try any number of times - I don't know how many times I tried for and missed Ash-throated Flycatcher last winter (as did others), I think its main spot must have been inaccessible and it only occasionally popped into birdable spots. But then I found my own this fall and chased a second one successfully. Much beyond my normal range, it's usually a one-and-done for me unless it's something extraordinary and at least somewhat reliable. Then again, I only tried the Pensacola Red-billed Tropicbird once (2 hours from home) and it was long-staying and extraordinary... so yeah, usually just once for me. More often I'll try again only if something else brings me to the area - like the Florida Panhandle America Flamingo, never made the 4-hour one-way trip from home for it, but tried twice when other things had me driving by the area (got it on the second try). There's also been a Pacific Loon off and on around Jackson, MS the last two winters, I always miss it but I never make the 3-hour drive just to try for that bird.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
We had a Black-throated Gray in Madison WI for months this fall. I made one attempt and you can guess what day had no single sightings for the bird.

As for how many times I twitch something, it depends on how far something is away, if its a lifer, if its a ABA or State Bird, how cool or rare a bird is, and my available time. I really haven't twitched a whole lot since moving to Wisconsin, and I think the Tufted Duck (only 25 minutes away) was the only one that I twitched more than once. And I got it on the second try.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Loads of variables to consider. For example is it case of: "do I really want to go all that way, so I can stand in that awful place, staring at that horrible view for hours on end in the wind and the rain, for a very small chance of seeing bird X?" Or is it a case of "Great, I've got another chance to visit that awesome site, where I have a chance of seeing an interesting variety of birds, in that spectacular setting, and hopefully a good chance of seeing bird x this time round." etc.
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
As Larry said, many variables to consider, but for me the main consideration would be distance.

For example, if I'd dipped on my first try for the Tundra Bean Goose that showed up near Philadelphia, I'd definitely have gone again. After all, it was only a hour's drive away and was reliably seen for several days. That was a new ABA area bird for me and a first state record. There was a Northern Wheatear about 30 miles from me that showed up in December. It was a new "state bird" for me but I've seen them before in the ABA. I made 3 runs in two days, and probably would have gone back again if I missed it that third time, but it's mostly because it was so close. OTOH, there was a Townsend's Solitaire that was just over two hours away (again a "state bird" only). I dipped it the first time and almost dipped it the second time two days later. I don't think I'd have gone back if I dipped it the second time.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
There's been a Painted Bunting a few miles northwest of Washington DC, and maybe a half-hour drive from my house. I went to look for it 3 days in a row and missed it by as little as 1 minute. The following weekend I went back for my fourth attempt and finally saw it ... as I was running out of time and heading pack to my car.

A few years ago there was a Black-throated Gray Warbler in somebody's yard about 3 miles from my house. I was able to see it immediately after it was noted on that particular morning.
 

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